With the NHL draft now upon us we can now shift our focus from Daniel Hamilton and the NBA, to the duo of Husky prospects that are involved in draft day operations. Although Max Letunov was already drafted he has still been involved in trade talks involving aspects from the draft. On the other hand rising star and prospect Tage Thompson will fulfill his life long dream, getting drafted in the NHL draft and becoming one step further to ending up in the big leagues.
UConn's leading goal scorer and leader in points has switched teams once again as he was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks traded 3rd and 4th round pick for Max who is being considered by some as a high end prospect. The Sharks sent both 3rd and 4th round picks to the Coyotes in exchange for Max, and a 6th round pick in next year's NHL Draft. Letunov was originally drafted 55th overall in the 2014 Draft by the St. Louis Blues, but a little less than a year later had his rights traded over to the Arizona Coyotes. Look for the highly praised freshman to stay one or two more years in college while working on a few weaknesses before suiting up for the Sharks. While the productive center had a very successful freshman campaign, there are still aspects he needs to focus on more before making the jump to the next level. His main focus should be putting on more muscle seeing he is very tall with good puck control and needs to avoid being pushed around and pushed off the puck as much. Ranked the 11th best college hockey prospect playing in the NCAA last year by SB Nation, the Husky product has received high praise to what many believe to be a successful NHL career, even ESPN anchor John Buccigross...
Thompson was drafted 26th overall to the Saint Louis Blues in the 1st round of the NHL draft. With this selection Thompson becomes the only Husky to be drafted in the first round of the NHL draft. Leading up to this week many writers had Tage getting drafted anywhere from mid to low twenties, all the way to mid thirties, so this selection should be no surprise to Husky fans.
Despite getting drafted this high he is still considered a very raw prospect. He has extremely high upside because of his length and ability to score. It has already been reported he will be staying at least one more year at UConn to work and try to get NHL ready. With an extra year, Thompson can work on three big things many scouts have pointed out while evaluating him. Those would be skating, strength and puck control. Look for him to follow Letunov's lead on hitting the weight room through the season as well as taking 1 to 2 years and taking off after they have completed their junior seasons at UConn. While he was a force on the power play leading the NCAA with 13 goals, Tage should use his natural goal scoring ability on even strength to attempt to increase his stock. Having a one timer on the power play compared to Alex Ovechkin, one of the current NHL's best is always a good thing to have under his belt. Thompson already has NHL connections as his dad Brent, head coach for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders AHL team. We wish nothing to but the best for Thompson and hope he can succeed and cherish the opportunity he has been granted after getting drafted. Go Blues!